John Bale, Expostulation againste a Franticke Papist

STC: 1294

sigs Ci verso–Cii


Vpon the .xx. day of September last past, I was (as he wele knoweth) at seruyce there, to beholde the workemanly conueyaunce of hym and that popysh chaplayn of his, and to know what wholsome frutes I shulde fynde after that tyme, of their .ii. plantinges. Such an other ape of Antichriste as that prest was, neuer sawe I afore in my lyfe, for he coulde not reade a Psalme, neyther yet speake Englyshe, beynge an allyen, an Armoricall or frenche Britayne. And to excuse hys most beastly ignoraunce, his own self was compelled, I being ther present, to slauer out ye .ii. lessons of ye Byble, with no small stutting & stamberyng, turnyng his arse to the people after the old popysh maner, to helpe forward the kynges most godly procedynges. More apysh toyes & gawdysh feates, could neuer a dysarde in England haue plaied (I think) than that apysh prest shewed there at the communyon. He turned and tossed, lurked and lowted, snored and smirted, gaped and gasped, kneled and knocked, loked and lycked, with both his thombes at hys eares & other tryckes more, that he made me .xx. tymes to | remembre wylle Somer. Yet of them both, that prest semed ye more foole a great deale And to amende the matter, he had than a new shauen crowne, which I rebuked him for. By thys I proue hys maistre, a mocker of God, a deceyuer of the people, and a contempner of the kynges iust procedynges.


sigs Cii verso–Ciii


In the weke afore Christmas last past, as he chaunced to be in ye house of the forseyd gentylman af hys owne affynyte, where he myght alwayes be bolde to do hys lewde feates, hys accustomed frenesie came sodenly vpon him. In ye heat whereof, he most shamefully reuyled a seruaunt of | that house calling hym heretyke and knaue because he had begonne to studie a parte in suche a Comedie, as myghtely rebuked the abhompnacyons and fowle fylthie occupienges of the Bishopp of Rome. Moreouer he requyred hym, in hys own stought name to do a lewde massage, whych was to call the compiler of that Comedie, both heretike and knaue, concludynge that it was a boke of most pernicouse heresie. That boke was imprynted about .vi. yeares ago, and hath bene abroad euer sens, to be both seane and judged of men, what it contayneth. And thys is the name therof. A Comedie concerning .iii. lawes, of nature, Moyses, & Christ .etc. Therin is it largely declared, how yat faythelesse Antichrist of Rome with his clergye, hath bene a blemysher, darkener, confouder, anc poysener, of all wholsom lawes. And that wyth ydolatricall Sodometrie he hath defyled nature, by ambytyouse Auarice he hath made Gods commaundements of non effecte, and with hypocrytycall doctryne peruerted Christes moste holye Gospell....

  • Marginalia
  • Footnotes
    • forseyd … affynyte: first mentioned on sig Bi; otherwise unidentified
    • anc: for and
  • Glossed Terms
    • abhompnacyon n abomination
    • armoricall adj Armorical; an inhabitant of Armorica, here likely a Breton
    • conuaiaunce n conveyance
    • dysarde n dizzard; a jester or foolish person
    • forseyd adj foresaid
    • lowted v intr pa louted; stooped, bowed [OEDO lout v.1]
    • occupienges n pl occupyings, used here in the sense of (habitual) practice, carrying on [OEDO occupy v 2.a; occupying n 1]
    • pernicouse adj pernicious
    • smirted v intr pa precise meaning unclear; possibly an imitative or onomatopoeic nonce word or portmanteau of 'smirked' and 'snorted'
  • Endnote

    On sig Cii, Bale remarks that the priest’s behavior reminds him of ‘wylle Somer.’ Will Somer (d. 1559) was perhaps the most famous court fool of the period. He served Henry VIII and Edward VI and his fame lasted into the seventeenth century, as Robert Armin described Somer and his tricks in his study of ‘natural’ fools, Foole upon Foole (1600). Somer appears as a character in Thomas Nashe’s 1592 Summer’s Last will and Testament and Samuel Rowley’s 1605 When You See Me, You Know Me, and may well have inspired Shakespeare’s Touchstone, Feste, and Lear’s Fool (‘Somer [Sommers], William (d. 1559),’ J.R. Mulryne, ODNB, 30 May 2013.

    The play named on sig Ciii is Bale’s own, usually known as Three Laws, an intensely anti-Catholic morality play of 1538. As the description in this work indicates, the play accuses the pope and his followers of a wide range of vices, and exhorts Christians to turn instead to the guidance of the three sets of laws: of nature, of Moses, and of Christ. See Three Laws in Peter Happé (ed), The Complete Plays of John Bale, (Cambridge, 1985), vol 2, 65–124.

  • Document Description

    Record title: John Bale, Expostulation againste a Franticke Papist
    Publication: STC
    Publication number: 1294

    This pamphlet begins with an epistle addressed to John, duke of Northumberland, that complains of those across England and especially in Hampshire who cling to Roman Catholicism. Bale focuses on a papist whom he claims talked contemptuously of King Edward on the previous 29 December, among his many offences. Bale received the living of Bishopstoke in Hampshire 26 June 1551, when the strongly Protestant John Ponet (a supporter of Northumberland) was made bishop of Winchester in place of the more moderate Stephen Gardiner (ODNB). King Edward nominated Bale to be bishop of Ossory in October 1552 and he was consecrated in February 1553, so the planned performance of Bale's Three Laws criticized by the papist must have occurred in 1551 or 1552 (ODNB; Happé, Bale, pp 17–18). Scholars have not been able to identify this papist, as Bale does not name him, nor does Bale identify the 'gentylman af hys owne affynyte' in whose house the papist resided, or the papist's chaplain, who is an 'allyen, an Armoricall or frenche Britayne,' or the servant who was going to act in Bale's Three Laws (Happé, Bale, p 42; John Bale, An Expostulation or complaynte agaynste the blasphemyes of a franticke papyst of Hamshyre (np, nd), sigs Bi, Civ). Either Bale assumed Northumberland would know to whom the pamphlet referred, or their identities did not matter to Bale, as the individuals' actions merely provided Bale with an opportunity to express his vitriolic anti- Catholic rhetoric. Hampshire had plenty of Catholic-leaning gentlemen, many of whom would remain recusants through Queen Elizabeth's reign. Moreover, Bale does not make clear whether the play performance was to take place at Bishopstoke, where the bishop of Winchester had a residence, at the bishop's palace at Wolvesey in Winchester, or somewhere else. Thus it is difficult to pinpoint the household of a Catholic gentleman whose servant was to perform in Bale's play.

    An Expo- | stulation or com= | playnte agaynste the | blasphemyes of a franticke | papyst of Hamshyre. | Co'piled by Iohan | Bale. | ... | Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum | solum, Per septênium. [colophon:] Imprynted at | London by Ihon Daye, | dwellyng ouer Aldergate | beneth Saynte Martyus, | and are to be soulde at the shope by the | litle Condite in Chepesyde. STC: 1294. '1550' written by hand below the colophon; STC gives inferred date of 1552.

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